Ten year 11 students from The Weald School in Billingshurst have made an inaugural trip to Uganda.
They visited Namilyango College, just outside Kampala, to gain an insight into the lives of young Ugandans.
The trip for students followed visits by staff from both schools in the last four years, as a result of a twinning programme from the London 2012 Olympics called International Inspiration.
Trip leader Luke Trotter, a teacher at The Weald, said: “Some of the week was spent at school in lessons but also involved visits to local primary schools, working as sports leaders and working with Hands For Hope, a charity in the Namuwongu slums.
“The students also had the opportunity to visit local sights.”
The group discovered that Ugandan students have long school days and spend a lot of time studying alone.
Student Hannah Evans said: “It was an incredible experience. We really got an insight into life for a young Ugandan.
“Some secondary schools are boarding, as was Namilyango. Students got up at 5am and were in class by 5.30am working unsupervised. Some of the classes were as big as 80 students.
“We couldn’t believe how long and hard they worked. In the evening, they were in classrooms unsupervised from 7.30am to 10pm doing homework.”
The Weald students explained to the Ugandans what school life was like for them.
Tom Weller said: “In the evenings, we had the opportunity to give talks to various classes and students so that Ugandans got an understanding of what life was like for us as English students.
“I also got the opportunity to play rugby on a number of occasions with the Ugandans, who were really good.
“One of the highlights was visiting the charity Hands for Hope in Kampala, which works with the most deprived children in one of the slums there. It made a huge impact on all of us.”
The Weald is hoping to host a return trip from the Ugandan school in 2017.
The Weald’s International Links programme aims to broaden the horizons of students and staff through developing links with schools in a number of countries worldwide.
The partnership with Namilyango College, a rural boys government school, sees students and staff in both schools work collaboratively on activities that are specifically designed to nurture effective student leadership opportunities.
The school also has links with schools in Kenya, China and France, including a well-established exchange programme.
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